Monday, 6 May 2013
These photos, the best of a bad bunch, just barely conceal the multitude of sins of my recent existence. Apart from the fact that I was cold (we've had good weather in the UK, but Yorkshire always does have that icy blast of wind) and tired from being out all day, I've been on a three week long bender with my family. Every time we get together, I eat too much, drink far too much, and don't sleep enough, and I've often noticed that I look about five years older by the end of a family vacation than I did before, with a pinched, dehydrated face. I think it just shows that we actually enjoy each other's company and just want to party all the time... but there is always that scary point when you find yourself seriously thinking that the last vegetable you ate may have been a week ago. If I were really a canary, rather than just canary-legged, I would have long since died down this mineshaft!
Thursday, 2 May 2013
Anna and I
I'm away from Barcelona for the better part of a month with the family holidays (it's over half over now, but this blog exists in its own time zone). Combine that with my visiting sisters, and another friend visiting Barcelona, and it was a good excuse to go out for a big dinner on a Tuesday night.
My incessant photo taking and the chaotic blurry charm I captured on a night out in February inspired Louis to buy a new camera and lens (both better than mine incidentally) and while he and I hit random buttons trying to figure out how to change the ISO, we got some lovely portraits of a great final evening (for a while) in Barcelona. I look knackered, but I had just finished moving my possessions all over Barcelona by taxi. Still, it was nice to share food and red wine and a lot of silliness before going depairingly back to my packing...
Anna 2 gets an impromptu tattoo
And Morna gets a cocktail and a borrowed pair of glasses
The virgin watching over us... don't ask. We did establish that most of us had NOT been baptized though, quite an accomplishment in a catholic country. Mind you, there were three members of my family there, which probably skewed the statistics...
and a late night ramble, and a rose for Rosa
See you all soon! And thank you to Louis for a number of the photos.
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Hello from northernest North Yorkshire, on the internet connection from hell!
After my Grannie died 3 years ago, I didn't think I'd get to visit Whitby, Yorkshire, much more, but somehow my dad's hometown has remained a family hub of sorts in the UK, and this year all of us (my parents, two sisters and I) headed over for the first proper family vacation in a while.
I got my mom to bring me some summer clothes to tide over the next few months, and promptly had to try them all on again. Wearing this dress brought me lots of comments from my mom about it's summery-ness and supposedly inappropriate length... making me feel like a total teenager again. But really, I just can't wait to ditch the tights!
Photos by Shona
Thursday, 25 April 2013
Back in 2008, I took a trip to Cadaqués, an idyllic Mediterranean town on the Costa Brava. I posted about it in retrospect some years later, here. Last week, my sisters were (both!) visiting Barcelona for the first time ever, and we went back, so wander the gravelly beach, feel the sun reflected back upon us from the whitewashed buildings, and visit Dalí's crazy/delightful house in neighboring Portlligat. Having been reading Josep Pla's lyrical history of Cadaqués, I looked upon it with different eyes, knowing about the centuries of struggle behind the idyllic exterior, the winds that drive people mad, the fishing treaties, the origin of the funny accents, the piracy!
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Today was El dia de Sant Jordi (St. George's day, the day of books and roses) in Catalonia. It's a special day for lovers, and even more so for lovers who also love literature. Here's me celebrating in Barcelona two years ago, and in Bonn last year.
Anyway, this year was a bit different. I'm actually in England with my family at the moment, but on Friday I was simultaneously here and all over Catalonia, promoting the day. I was the co-cover star of Què Fem, the Friday supplement to La Vanguadia (ahem, big deal) ;) with my friend Rosa, as the friendly faces of bookworms everywhere.
I also appeared inside the story itself (which I haven't had a chance to read yet, I hope my friends have saved me copies), along with my writers group, a group for reading and critiquing writing efforts of members which is basically my main and favourite extracurricular activity in Barcelona.
*both photos by the talented Flaminia Pelazzi, although the top photo is just a quick shot done with Rosa's phone to send me, and not a proper scan.
** article by Anna Tomàs.
Friday, 19 April 2013
"Leftovers from Portugal" impromptu dinner (my friend and I brought back our leftover Octupus stew, putting it through security at the airport and everything) during which we learned that some people are better at packing pastries than others...
I've been going out like a maniac the last month or so. Dinner, lunch, coffee, vermut, debauched nights at the absinthe bar, coffee again in the morning... you name it, I was there. Mostly I just wanted to surround myself with people as much as possible. I totally burnt myself out (so much so that, arriving in the U.K. for a family holiday two days ago, I pronounced I had no intention of leaving the house at all and stayed all day on the sofa reading and eating cheese).
Since I'm also one of those people who refuses to eat breakfast until I've photographed it, ignoring that everyone around me is rolling their eyes, you get some of the food-centred highlights of the month fashion blogging forgot for me. :)
I made a Canadian pancake brunch for friends, and we ate them while drinking sparkling wine (although it looks like Anna was just drinking straight-up maple syrup)
A dinner at home with Amandine and Aga, to which Aga brought the most mouth-watering carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing.
Spring time is calçots season in Catalonia (calçots are large sweet onions, barbequed and eaten with Romesco sauce. Accordingly, some friends and I drove to a barbeque area outside of Barcelona, where we nearly died from smoke inhalation, and comically failed at making a fire. Finally two of us decided the only solution was to make friends with the locals, so we did, and they built the fire for us, and taught us how to cook the calçots properly, and it was amazing (though I smelt like smoke and onions for a long while afterwards)...
Luckily one of our number was more accomplished at how to eat the calçots, which can definitely be messy.
Despite smelling like an arsonist, I headed out to Barcelona's famous old Absinthe bar that night, as it was/is being threatened with closure. It's currently staying open semi-illegally I believe. It's a grand old institution where I lost a reasonable portion of my youth and beauty, so it was definitely worth turning out!
blurry but realistic...
And quieter afternoons, having coffee and cake with Aga after work (another one soon I hope).
P.S. I promise I'll be back to posting regularly. Have had emotional chaos, job-leaving, flat-changing, and sister-visiting all in short order, and currently am sharing one internet-enabled computer between five people but I should be up and rolling again by the weekend.
P.P.S. Despite this post rhapsodizing on food, I currently never want to eat again. I'm in the U.K. and have eaten about a pound each of cheddar, brie and wensleydale since I arrived...
Thursday, 11 April 2013
It feels weird posting these on a day when it was probably 23 degrees and glorious, but a couple of weeks ago, when I went to Bristol for an exceptionally difficult weekend, it was completely baltic. This March was the coldest on record or something in the UK, no? Luckily, this coat by Family Affairs, a Christmas present that had been lost in the post, (the designer had to send me another one, the Spanish post is absolutely awful and I'm convinced the first one got stolen by somebody in the handling chain), arrived two days before I went, and made the -2 degree weather slightly more bearable.
On a strange, mournful Sunday afternoon, Albert and I drove across the bridge from Bristol to Wales, to walk around a blustery castle, pose by a lovely 19th century iron bridge, and then warm up with cider at the local pub.